Carolyn Casella, Ph.D.



Dr. Casella is interested in medical education and teaches in both Medical and Dental schools. She is the recipient of two awards given by students. In 2017, she received the Gender Equity Award given by the American Medical Woman’s Association. In 2020, Dr. Casella received the Golden Apple from the class of 2022.

Dr. Casella has studied many aspects of the replication of retroviruses in both graduate school and post-doctoral work.  This includes studies detailing the requirement for HIV’s matrix protein in incorporation of viral envelope glycoproteins onto the virion, and the sensitivity of HIV infected cells to apoptosis and the viral proteins involved. More recently, Dr. Casella’s research interests have involved the detoxified endotoxin vaccine adjuvant monophosphoryl lipid A and mimetics of lipid A structures.  Her interests are in the interactions of these Toll-like receptors (TLRs) with cells of the immune system and how different structures elicit varied responses.


Selected Publications

  1. Mitchell, TC and Casella, CR. No pain no gain? Adjuvant effects of alum and monophosphoryl lipid A in pertussis and HPV vaccines. Current Opinion in Immunology 2017, 47:17–25.
  2. Wang, Y-Q., Bazin-Lee, H., Evans, JT, Casella, CR., and Mitchell, TC. MPL adjuvant contains competitive antagonist of human TLR 4. Front. Immunol 2020, 11:577823. 
  3. Kolb JP, Casella CR, SenGupta S, Chilton PM, Mitchell TC. Type I interferon signaling contributes to the bias that Toll-like receptor 4 exhibits for signaling mediated by the adaptor protein TRIF. 2015 Sci Signal.  Nov 11;7(351)
  4. Casella CR and  Mitchell TC. Inefficient TLR4/MD-2 heterodimerization by monophosporyl lipid A.  2013 PLoS One 8(4):e62622.
  5. Cekic C, Casella CR, Sag D, Antignano F, Kolb J, Suttles J, Hughes MR, Krystal G, Mitchell TC. MyD88-dependent SHIP1 regulates proinflammatory signaling pathways in dendritic cells after monophosphoryl lipid A stimulation of TLR4.  2011 J. Immunol. 186(7):3858-65.
  6. Cekic C, Casella CR, Eaves CA, Matsuzawa A, Ichijo H, Mitchell TC. Selective activation of the p38 MAPK pathway by synthetic monophosporyl lipid A.  2009 J. Biol. Chem. 284(64):31982091
  7. Casella CR, and Mitchell TC.  Putting endotoxin to work for us: Monophosphoryl lipid A as a safe and effective vaccine adjuvant. 2008 Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 65:3231-3240.
  8. Mata-Haro V, Cekic C, Martin M, Chilton,PM, Casella CR, and Mitchell,TC. The vaccine adjuvant monophoshoryl lipid A as a TRIF-baised agonist of TLR4. 2007. Science 316:1628-1632
  9. Wang J, Shackelford JM, Casella CR, Shivers DK, Rapaport EL, Liu B, Yu XF, Finkel TH.  The Vif accessory protein alters the cell cycle of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infected cells.  2006. Virology. 2007 Mar 15;359(2):243-52.
  10. Casella CR, Rapaport EL and Finkel TH.  Vpu increases susceptibility of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected cells to Fas killing.  1999. J. Virol. 73:92-100.
  11. Finkel TH and Casella CR  AIDS and cell death.  In:  Cell Death: Significance and Directions.  Edited by Zaker, Z., Tilly,J and Lockshin RA  Wiley-Liss.  1998.  pp. 289-318
  12. Casella CR and Finkel TH.  Mechanisms of lymphocyte killing by HIV. 1997.  Curr. Opin. Hematol. 4:24-31.